I didn't consult PM, Sonia: Amarinder

I didn't consult PM, Sonia: Amarinder
New Delhi, Jul 14 (PTI) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh today ruled out restoration the status quo on river water-sharing with neighbouring states and said he had not consulted either Prime Minister Manmohan Singh or Congress President Sonia Gandhi before taking the action.

"There is no question of status quo being restored as there is a law passed by the Assembly," he told reporters here and sought a new Commission to settle the issue of river water sharing since the Eradi Commission concerned only Ravi and Beas rivers.

Asked whether he had consulted the Prime Minister and the Congress President before going ahead with the legislation in the state assembly, the Chief Minister said "I didn't consult the Prime Minister or the party President before taking the decision as it would have embarassed the leadership." "However, all the three states of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan will continue to get water which they have been getting and there is only a disinformation campaign on this," Singh claimed.

He said Punjab's problem was only with Haryana over the Sutlej-Yamuna Link since it is a surplus basin-state while Punjab has been a deficit-basin state.

Asked about the meeting with the Prime Minister last evening, he said "the Prime Minister has to take a decision in larger perspective and I am not aware of his thinking on this issue." Replying to a question, Singh suggested neither the Centre nor the Congress President be involved in efforts for a solution to the water-sharing disputes.

Singh said Punjab would fight its own battle. "It is our fight, why involve the Centre or the Congress President in it? Let Haryana, Rajasthan and others, who are getting water go to the court. Everyone will fight its own battle." "Sutlej, Beas and Ravi are not inter-state rivers. They flow only through Punjab into Pakistan. So there is no question of calling it an inter-state dispute," he said.

"Punjab's rights over Sutlej-Yamuna waters is unquestionable and there seems to be serious lacunae in water- sharing arrangement between Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. It is also not in tune with international riparian laws," a Punjab government release said.

Meanwhile, the state government has sought the advice of the Union Water Resources Ministry on what it should do now as according to the Supreme Court ruling it was supposed to hand over the possession of the canal area to the Centre by July 15, Punjab government sources said.

Secretary, Punjab government, K R Lakhanpal today met water ministry officials and made the position of the state clear that since the assembly had already passed the law, the executive cannot over-rule the legislature now, sources said.

The Punjab Chief Minister's move, meanwhile has come in for appreciation from his staunch opponents Akali Dal (Badal) and Longowal group.

Senior Akali Dal (Badal) leader S S Dhindsa said on the sidelines of the NDA meet that Congress central leadership should not interfere in the issue as the state had the right to protect its own interests.

Akali Dal (Longowal) President Prem Singh Chandumajra said "Singh had done what the earlier Akali governments had failed to do." "Everyone is saying that whatever has happened is unconstitutional. But we feel what had happened earlier was against the law," Chandumajra said.

He alleged the rights of Punjab had been infringed upon and the SYL should not be seen as an inter-state dispute.

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